A wild piece of land near the cliffs of Europe’s westernmost point is host to a journey of self-discovery, where community building is done in connection with nature, guided by the energy from the powerful site. An inclusive learning center, Terra Alta is a destination for people from all walks of life, where together they become regenerative agents, creating new ways for the future, inciting an international movement of cultural, land, and social transformation.
Inspired by the principles of permaculture, we are a community committed to regenerating the soil, producing healthy food, and building ecologically while actively contributing to the international web of eco-cultural transformation. Terra Alta offers experiential life-education programs for both youths and adults, preparing participants to become pollinators, spreading the word of abundance and nature connection throughout the world.
Pedro Valdjiu and Rita Seixas met as teenagers in 1994. A deep love took them on the journey of parenthood, from which they have two beautiful daughters, Jasmim and Zoe. Unsatisfied with the schooling available, they took it upon themselves to create an educational context for their children and others whose parents faced similar concerns.
Living in the BioRegion of Sintra, a mountainous area near Lisbon, it was there they founded "Escola da Terra" in 2008, a Waldorf school and kindergarten, which presently serves over 50 children from all over the world.
Their educational project moved a step further in 2009 when Escola da Terra hosted a Permaculture Design Course, the first step in a movement that's since transpired into one of the most active permaculture projects in Portugal and Europe--Terra Alta.
Sintra's first permaculture project began in 2010, when Pedro and Rita bought land to start Terra Alta. Since then, together with Henrik Ellerbrock and Maria Almeida, they have been developing a model for regenerative culture.
Committed to the Cause
Founder, Host and Facilitator
An agent of cultural transformation and visionary founder, Pedro Valdjiu’s dream to build a model for regenerative culture began with founding the Terra Alta educational center in 2008. 10 years later, his dream has become a reality: Terra Alta has trained hundreds of people through its Permaculture Design Courses and is a model for off-the-grid living.
Within the Permaculture world, Pedro is a certified Permaculture teacher of the UK Association of Permaculture and a project consultant. A student of "rebel farmer" Sepp Holzer and adherent of the teachings of Permaculture co-originator David Holmgren, Pedro hosts and facilitates the PDC's by designing its programs, choosing the team, and giving sessions on the topics he is most passionate about.
He is also the founder of world-renowned band Blasted Mechanism, an award-winning filmmaker, co-founder of Escola da Terra--a Waldorf School that brings a love based education to children in the local community, and father of two beautiful daughters with life long companion Rita Seixas.
Founder and Host
Rita Seixas is a dedicated educator and community leader who helps to bring about transformation by nurturing children through a renewed educational context and hosting visitors at Terra Alta with her attention to detail. Founder of Terra Alta and Escola da Terra--a Waldorf school near Terra Alta, she is highly connected to Anthroposophy, a spiritual science created by Rudolf Steiner and the belief system underlying Waldorf education. She is also a skilled artist in the areas of crafting, painting, and drawing--talent that translates into the ability to retrofit spaces to improve both function and aesthetics.
Host and Facilitator
Henrik Ellerbrock has become an eminent voice in the Permaculture movement after years of working to create societal awareness for global issues, including projects for peace education in Africa, as well as in Berlin high schools using A. Boal's "theatre of the oppressed", where he realized societal changes need to grow from within rather than being imposed. In search of a more authentic way of life, he moved to Portugal in 2010 where he met Pedro Valdjiu and his family and joined the Terra Alta project, purchasing the neighboring land.Henrik is a Permaculture facilitator and co-host of the educational center. Committed to bioregionalism, he is driven to create food autonomy through his work as a bio-intensive farmer and market gardener.
Since joining the project in 2015, with her qualities of continuous reflection, precise systems thinking and a unique passion for holistic education, Maria represents a completion for Terra Alta as a future model for sustainability and regeneration.
With her eagerness of absorbing new ideas and knowledge and her great joy of nurturing the growth and development of children and young adults, Maria manages Terra Alta's teenager, project-based, an educational program that started in September 2016.
Furthermore, she is a gifted artist, painter and a student of traditional Chinese medicine.
Steve is passionate about simple living in connection with nature and art. Trained as a professional tile mason in the city of Steckborn, Germany, it was after a moment of enlightenment that he realized a more natural and sustainable way of building was his life's calling. After being a nomad in Europe for about a year, he landed in Terra Alta in 2018 where he soon became an active crew member and a detailed and dedicated builder.
While a lot of things have influenced Nadia in joining the Permaculture movement, the most influential have been: the environmentally active groups in Ohio, her time at Terra Alta, and the amazing life-guidance the principles of Permaculture provide, encouraging many new friendships with other regenerative agents. She started collaborating with Terra Alta following her volunteership at the August 2018 PDC, after connecting with Pedro and the project, through numerous fire circle discussions.
She has a background in digital marketing, having written for large-company blogs, and is much more fulfilled using her marketing knowledge to help regenerative communities spread knowledge about Permaculture.